The Infinite Solitude

A few months ago I discovered a song by the recently deceased jazz singer/songwriter Abby Lincoln. I was unfamiliar with both Lincoln and her work, but I loved the song – “Throw it Away” – as soon as I heard it. I could attempt to describe why I loved it but that would defeat the purpose of today’s piece. I will tell you that “Throw it Away” has made it into every playlist since I downloaded it from iTunes, I sing it in the shower, the car, and around the house, and it is the unofficial soundtrack of the novel I’m currently writing. Here’s something else I love: my wife. Love her, love her, love her. I won’t bother describing why; it would be like making an argument for why blue is more beautiful than yellow. Suffice it to say that we all make choices in our lives, and the choice to marry Jen is the choice against which I measure all choices because it wasn’t a choice at all, really. Choosing not to marry her would have been like choosing not to be me anymore.

Anyhow, Jen and I agree on a lot – politics, religion, and aesthetics. With the exception of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (an admittedly eccentric personal favorite of mine), we rarely disagree on a movie or book. So imagine my surprise when she found me listening to “Throw it Away” and declared that she “hated it.” It was creepy, she said. The more she listened to it, the more she hated it. She had to leave the room.

Divorce being out of the question, what was I to do? No matter how close you are to someone, a difference can arise that shows the distance between you and that other person. I would be lying if I said I did not often fear that distance, feared seeing that I am alone within the totality of my preferences. And yet it is this very solitude from which all creation springs. The world’s a noisy place, and I’m going to need a little isolation if I’m going to hear what I want to say. And once I’ve heard what I want to say, I hope I say it. In the end what you discover in that infinite solitude paves the way across the distance between you and everyone else.

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